By John Fix III
Emilio Ristorante is the usual spot where Judy and I celebrate our wedding anniversary each year, a tradition we’ve carried on for almost every one of our 29 years of marriage. Thursday night wasn’t our anniversary, but Restaurant Week provided the perfect reason to head over to Harrison for a special evening of fine dining. Emilio’s is (in my opinion) the best traditional Italian restaurant in Westchester county. Housed in a lovely converted colonial house on a quiet side street in Harrison, they can handle dinner for a romantic couple as well as large family gatherings.
Last night when Judy and I arrived they were quite busy, but although we arrived a few minutes prior to our reservation time we were seated promptly by the owner, Sergio. We were presented with both the Restaurant Week menu as well as the regular dinner menu, and water and bread was brought to our table.
Emilio’s offered quite a wide range of choices for the restaurant week deal, including the option to choose two appetizers from their appetizer cart. The appetizer cart is one of the unique offerings at Emilio’s, with a wide selection of hot and cold items to choose from, brought to our table by our waiter who described each offering in detail. Allowing us to choose two items each made it much easier to come to a decision as everything looked appetizing. Judy chose roasted peppers along with bruschetta, and both were fresh and flavorful.
I chose the asparagus (which came with a hollandaise-like sauce) and the caponata (eggplant with red pepper), both served cold. The asparagus was cooked perfectly, tender and easy to cut with a fork. The caponata was delicious, and went well with some of the flatbread which was in the bread basket.
For the main course I selected the Tagliata ai Ferri, which is an angus flat iron steak marinated in Barolo wine and herbs and then flash grilled over and served over baby arugula w/shaved parmigiano. The steak was cooked rare which was perfect, tender and flavorful and complemented wonderfully by the arugula and parmigiano.
Judy decided to try the fresh fish of the day, which was sea bass. It was prepared pan roasted with capers, geata olives, garlic & sweet pearl tomatos. As expected, it was cooked just right and was delicious.
Usually dessert is presented on a cart similar to the appetizer cart, and you can choose to mix and match several items. For the restaurant week deal we were provided a choice of two items, which allowed us to try the others selection. I ordered the House Made Ricotta & Anisette Cheesecake which was truly decadent and delicious. The portion size was just right as I don’t know if I could have finished a larger piece as it was so rich.
Judy requested the House Made Apple Strudel which was served with vanilla gelato. It was served warm, and the apple filling was sweet and cooked with just the right amount of subtle crunch. The gelato paired wonderfully with the strudel, and we both cleaned our dessert plates completely.
Service was attentive and quick throughout the meal, and our drinks were refilled as needed. The owner, Sergio, moved from table to table throughout the evening, striking up conversations and explaining menu items. All in all, a fabulous dining experience last night. Both Judy and I are looking forward to returning in March for our traditional wedding anniversary dinner (30 years!).